While neither I nor Tim Callahan thought much of “WWE Heroes” #1, the second issue was a noticeable improvement with more cohesive writing and stronger art. This issue isn’t much of a change from the second with a ludicrous story and inconsistent art that struggles in places to draw the WWE superstars in any sort of recognizable form. But, there’s also something oddly addicting about the book. It may even fall into that ‘so bad it’s good’ category as it’s hard not to get some enjoyment from the insanity depicted.
After all, the issue begins with the police officer in charge of handling the hostage situation at WrestleMania lamenting his bad luck at not being on vacation as planned before Rowdy Roddy Piper shows up, offering to help. The officer’s response is exactly what you’d expect: “I can think of a couple of things you can do to help, Hot Rod. One: this is the real world, so stay out of our way…” The tension between the false image presented by wrestling and the reality is at the heart of the story, and that is one of the few times it’s treated with anything approaching realism or sense.
A quasi-religious cult has taken over WrestleMania as part of a quest by the King of Shadows to kill his brother, the First Born, in a conflict that’s gone on for thousands of years. The First Born was revealed as Triple H last issue when he was killed. Now, with that out of the way, the King of Shadows still has the stadium and superstars held hostage, and the wrestlers get antsy. Champagne nails the voice of John Cena’s character with a bombastic rallying cry, but, then, Shawn Michaels superkicks him because… uh… Shawn Michaels superkicks people? Later in the issue, wrestlers are forced to fight to the death, never raising a point that should prove obvious to anyone: these guys don’t actually fight for a living. Michaels is superkicking someone in real life? What?
Obviously, this is a fantasy, but some elements are so far beyond what a reader can believe that it’s hard not to ignore them. The problem is that there’s no clear concept of what the rules of the comic are. It wants to recognize that WWE superstars are performers, while also showing them fight for real using the moves they use in the ring, many of which only work because of the cooperation of their opponent.
Andy Smith’s art has definitely improved over his horrendous work in the first issue with a little more variation in body types and a better grasp of the unique look of each wrestler. There are still some problems with characters looking inconsistent or not resemble their real life inspirations, including one big error that is partly the colorist’s fault with Mickie James having the wrong hair color but the woman in the drawing doesn’t look like her anyway.
The area where Smith has improved the most is in the action scenes. The fight between the Big Show and four opponents to the death isn’t as cluttered or clumsy as his work in the first issue. While he still has problems with certain aspects of in-ring action, there’s a solid flow to his work.
“WWE Heroes” #3 continues to the ridiculous story involving ancient immortal brothers, a hostage situation, and wrestlers fighting to the death, but it does revel in the insanity at times, allowing for some enjoyment. The final page of the comic is a perfect example of a purely dumb, ridiculous moment that can’t help but make you laugh since it is so over the top.